On this episode of PRfect Pitch, Nicole chats with Omar Shamout, Technology Reporter at the Los Angeles Business Journal. They talk about the Do’s and Don’ts of media relationships and faux pas that Shamout has encountered working with public relations professionals and media teams.
In the first segment Omar is introduced and shares his story about coming from a background of film and television. He worked as a Hollywood film executive and wrote screenplays, but got fed up with the slowness of getting projects off the ground. Omar started freelance writing and decided to go back to school to learn how to be a professional journalist. He graduated from the University of Southern California with a Master of Arts in Journalism.
Omar is intrigued by crossover in mobile and online content and feels the possibilities are becoming endless. He shares that Netflix is one of his favorite companies and that he’s an “entertainment junkie.”
When it comes to media relations, Omar wants people to understand the news cycle and the reporters that cover their clients’ beats. He shares in the second segment that he doesn’t want to be bombarded with pitches that don’t relate to what he covers and are not what his editor would approve. He receives at least 30 new pitches a day. When pitching Omar, it needs to be a story related to Los Angeles Business and technology that’s disrupting more than one industry.
Shamout would like Communications professionals that are reaching out to him to understand the difference between weekly and daily newspapers regarding story timing and length. He prefers to take meetings on Fridays and is busy throughout the week.
In the third segment, Omar Shamout wants PR professionals to know that promotional and marketing campaigns are most of the time usually not newsworthy and do not fit his beat. It is marketing related not publicity related. His worst experience working with a public relations professional was when he/she threatened to never work with him again if he used a quote that was on the record. Omar used the quote anyway and the article turned out great.
Omar would like companies to share on their websites who their media relations and press contact is, because if something newsworthy happens and he’s not able to contact someone he’ll move onto the next article.
Finally, Omar provides great advice that public relations professionals should know your client and what is the story going on. The person who sent the pitch should be able to answer questions about the topic you pitched and explain more. Nicole agrees and believes that it is the responsibility of senior level executives to make sure that junior level associates understand what they are pitching and know what is going on in the industry the client is in.
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Make sure to tune-in to the next episode of PRfect Pitch.Segment 1: Omar shares stories about his journey from film and television into journalism.